Cooking with Nuts and Seeds

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Looking to add variety to your meals? Nuts and seeds promise to deliver that extra crunch.

From adding subtle texture to full-on flavour, nuts and seeds are ingredients which are guaranteed to put a new spin on your favourite home-cooked dishes. Toss them in a salad, or eat them lightly roasted on their own. The latter is particularly healthy because nuts and seeds need no additional oiling for their flavor. Here’s a simple method for roasting nuts and seeds to perfection.

Using a flat-bottomed frying pan, spread the nuts or seeds evenly and heat over a medium flame. Do not try to roast different nuts and seeds at once, as each has its own rate of toasting. Keep stirring and shaking until a uniform golden brown colour is achieved. Be careful not to leave them on for too long, as burnt nuts give off an unpleasant bitter taste.

Microwaves are hassle-free and do the job astonishingly quickly. Spread out a small amount of nuts and seeds in a flat, microwave-safe dish. At this point, you can choose to rub in a little butter if you want to, but the nuts’ natural oils should be enough for even browning. Microwave the nuts on high for one minute at a time. Stir after every minute, until the nuts and seeds are properly toasted. Since different nuts toast at different rates, microwave only one type at a time.

If all else fails, a regular oven is all you need to toast seeds and nuts. Preheat the oven to 350F, place nuts in an ungreased pan and bake for 5 to 10 minutes. Stir and shake the pan once or twice during toasting until they are uniformly golden brown and give off a pleasant fragrance.
Once roasted, nuts and seeds can be kept in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy them as a sprinkling on your cereals, salads, soups, pasta and yogurts.